Cameras Reduce Crashes, Red-Light Running in Newark

Photo: City of Newark
Photo: City of Newark

One year after Newark installed cameras at its most dangerous intersections, crashes and instances of red-light running were down by sizable margins.

According to the Traffic Safety Coalition, the city has reduced crashes by 16 percent and red light running violations by 40 percent at intersections with cameras — a total of 10 across Newark. Says the TSC:

The total number of crashes at those intersections dropped 16 percent in 2010 compared to 2009 despite half the approaches having been installed for six months or less. From July through December, there were 23 percent fewer crashes compared to the same months the year before — a clear indication cameras are changing driver behavior in the city.

“We must do what is necessary to encourage people to drive safely,” said coalition national co-chairs Paul and Sue Oberhauser, “and clearly cameras are making drivers think twice before running a red light.” You can read more about Newark’s red light cam program on the city’s web site.

Earlier this year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that red light cameras prevented 159 deaths between 2004 and 2008 in 14 of the largest cities in the U.S., and that 815 deaths would have been prevented had cameras been operating in all U.S. cities with a population of over 200,000. Nearly two-thirds of those killed by red light runners in 2009 were occupants of other vehicles, passengers in the red light runners’ vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists.

In 2009, after a series of delays and defeats in Albany, NYCDOT was given the go-ahead to install cameras at 150 of the city’s 12,000+ signalized intersections. A speed camera bill is currently pending. Perhaps as evidence of the effectiveness of automated enforcement continues to mount, state lawmakers will allow the city more leeway to save lives and prevent injuries.